Cancer treatment-related hot flashes may also be referred to as hot flushes, vasomotor symptoms, night sweats, and menopausal symptoms. A hot flash has been defined as a sensation of heat that may be accompanied by facial flushing, perspiration, chills, heart palpitations, night sweats, and feelings of anxiety. Hot flashes may be part of a symptom cluster that includes other problems such as fatigue and sleep disturbance. This experience tends to be transient and unpredictable, and has been most often described among women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer who have received medical or surgical castration (androgen ablation). Androgen ablation has been associated with hot flashes in up to 80% of patients, and the prevalence of hot flashes among breast cancer survivors has been reported to be more than 78%. Cancer treatment can result in earlier onset of menopause and worsening of existing menopausal symptoms among women.
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This topic was updated on June 19, 2015.